Baby Doll

Oh, caught "Baby Doll" on TCM, and...

Well, I'm tempted to say that THIS is the best collaboration between Elia Kazan and Tennessee Williams I've ever seen.  I'm sure I'll be proven wrong, and another viewing of "A Streetcar Named Desire"'ll tell me that Marlon Brando's performance makes that film one for the ages, but "Streetcar" is so damned serious--"Baby Doll" doesn't have to prove anything, it doesn't drag along any of Williams' heavy themes the way "Streetcar" does; it's just a comedy, and as such is free to be as wildly grotesque as it likes. Caroll Baker puts on screen what Kubrick and Sue Lyon tried to do in "Lolita" only Baker radiates a whole other level of heat (Kubrick had to fall back on Peter Sellers, James Mason and Shelley Winters for comedy instead of sex), Wallach looks damned cool and confident as her Italian lover and Karl Malden I never liked better as the hapless bulldog husband.

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